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Month: February 2011

The Judge Roy Bean Museum, Langtry, TX

February 28, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The Judge Roy Bean Museum, Langtry, TX

In between Big Bend National Park, and Amistad National Recreation Area in Texas, is a little known destination that offers much to the traveler that is road weary and needs a break!  The Judge Roy Bean Saloon & Museum Visitor’s Center is the perfect stop to stretch your legs, take advantage of free wi-fi, help yourself to the extensive collection of Texas attraction brochures, take a leisurely walk through a pleasant cactus garden, and, most importantly, to learn about the life and times of Judge Roy Bean.   Judge Bean was a colorful character that ruled over the area with a heavy, but just (for the most part) hand during the late 1800s.  He became a legend in the area long before his death, and was known as the law west of Pecos.  Since the town of Langtry didn’t have a jail, Judge Bean gave fines to most convicted criminals, which served as both an effective punishment for the wrong-doers, and to pad the pockets of Judge Bean as he kept the fines. When visiting... [Read more...]

Big House: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, AZ

February 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Big House: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, AZ

For over a thousand years, prehistoric farmers inhabited much of the present-day state of Arizona. This three-story "Great House" is the largest single building left from the Hohokan culture. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved When the first Europeans arrived, all that remained of this ancient culture were the ruins of villages, irrigation canals, and various artifacts. Among these ruins is the Casa Grande, or “Big House,” one of the largest and most mysterious prehistoric structures ever built in North America. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument protects the Casa Grande and other archeological sites within its boundaries. A giant steel awning protects what is left of the three-floor “Great House,” the largest single building left from the Hohokam culture, which thrived in the Sonoran Desert until about 1450, when it mysteriously disappeared. The early Spanish named the Indians of southern Arizona the Pima and Papago. In their own language they are the Akimel O’Odham... [Read more...]

The Big Adjustment: Traveling Without Children

February 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The Big Adjustment: Traveling Without Children

Those of you who have been following my posts know that in the past few, I have been lamenting the fact thought our children are growing up and less able to travel with us—something we have always done together as a family. The transition to traveling with no children is a significant one for any family and we are feeling it now. Always we have been able to enjoy their company. It was a chance to get to know them again; to reconnect in a way that was difficult during the school year when friends, homework, sports and technology interfered. Touring Boston on a recent RV trip When I think of this summer, I am tempted to scoop them all up and head out, taking them away from all of their busy pursuits. But, alas, I know they are doing what they need to do. They must each forge their own lives, independent of us. They know we will be here when they have the time and inclination to visit. But it will not be the same. I will miss them. Enjoying one of our easier "drive-up" high points I... [Read more...]

“Stick-Homes” for RVers

February 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

“Stick-Homes” for RVers

(Photo Caption: RV supersite with Texas Coach-house) When we decided to become full-time RVers, we knew that we would eventually want a “fixed” home again.  We thought it would be a number of years before we found just the right place, though, because we knew it would be a long time before we were willing to give up the RV lifestyle—not just the traveling around the country exploring the great locations, but interacting with the people who also enjoy this lifestyle (whether full-time, part-time, or just sometimes, it seems that “campers” are fun to be around).  However, we stumbled across a community last winter that changed our minds about waiting. Who imagined that there would be a residential community focused on people who enjoy the RV lifestyle, and that it would be 55+, gated, and in the middle of a master development focused on living in harmony with nature.  And, even better, it is deep in South Texas, which is an ideal location for someone to spend the winter if they... [Read more...]

How do YOU Dump YOUR Gray Water? (Safely, Easily and Legally – of course)

February 26, 2011 by · 8 Comments 

How do YOU Dump YOUR Gray Water? (Safely, Easily and Legally – of course)

There were six of us.  We were sitting around a campfire sharing stories and talking about most anything that came into our minds. All of us had settled at a Corps of Engineers campground in Southside Virginia for a week of boating, fishing and swimming in Kerr Lake. The campground was nicely laid out and offered both water and electric on our sites – but there were no sewer hookups.  The dump station was a considerable distance away, near the entrance to the park. One of the guys looked up at the rest of us and asked, “What do you do with your gray water?”  “My gray tank fills up in a couple of days – I can go a full week with my black tank, but not the gray.” Pete, one of the younger men in the group, responded, “I crack the drain valve after dark and let it slowly dribble out onto the ground.  Shucks, it ain’t poison – it’s just used wash water.” Mike stared in stark surprise.  “That is against the law!”  “If you get caught they will write you a ticket... [Read more...]

Do You Crave Homemade Cookies While Traveling?

February 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Do You Crave Homemade Cookies While Traveling?

Do you ever find yourself craving homemade cookies while traveling? Indeed, that’s a common craving with my campers. When I was preparing for the long drive from Anchorage to Seattle in August 2006, I decided to make a some  logs of cookie dough and then freeze them. I knew that the amenities would be scarce on the Alaska Canada Highway, so I was determined to be prepared with my “cookie dough to go.”  This was a very simple thing to pull off before we left. I simply made a couple batches of chocolate chip cookie dough and  a couple batches of oatmeal raisin. Once the dough was finished, I formed it into numerous logs and wrapped them  in plastic wrap. The logs were labeled,  frozen, and then stashed in the camper freezer when we left. The log method proved particularly useful because the logs didn’t take up a lot of space in the compact freezer and because I  was able to wedge them into quirkly little pockets and spaces.  When we parked the camper each... [Read more...]

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Are You Rastafarian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Christian or Don’t Give a Rip One Way or the Other? You must see Sedona’s Chapel of the Holy Cross

February 26, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Are You Rastafarian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Christian or Don’t Give a Rip One Way or the Other?  You must see Sedona’s Chapel of the Holy Cross

You could easily drive into Sedona, Arizona and miss it; the chapel perched high on the mountain, sandstone art blending with flaming scarlet rocks. But you’d regret it big time. Are you an atheist?  You have to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross . Are you Muslim or Hindu? You just can’t miss it. What if you’re Rastafarian, agnostic, Jewish, or Christian? Yup…you get it . You must drive up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. No matter who you are, what your faith, beliefs or interests, this is a drive well worth making. Why? Because the Chapel is an architectural wonder set in Sedona’s unbelievable Red Rock country and each of us responds to beauty and genius. The Chapel of the Holy Cross  https://www.chapeloftheholycross.com/store needs to be seen because places like this are rare in the United States.  Europe, however, offers a variety of miraculous architectural mountain top retreats.  One of my favorites is Montserrat, outside  Barcelona, Spain. http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Spain/Catalunya/Barcelona-274654/Off_the_Beaten_Path-Barcelona-Day_Trip_Montserrat-BR-1.html Even... [Read more...]

Campground Cookery for Kids

February 24, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

If you travel and camp with your children and grandchildren, then you probably know how children enjoy cooking s’mores over the campfire. A perennial classic, s’mores are a favorite campfire food. There are, however, many other more nutritious things to cook while camping  with children! We’ve cooked salmon in foil packets, pizzas in biscuit pans, and fruit desserts in our Dutch ovens. If you are seeking inspiration for the younger set,  then check out this nifty little book entitled, “Cooking On A Stick,” by Linda White.  Less than fifty pages, the book is compact and can easily be  stashed into a backpack or a  camper cupboard. I like the book because it features simple  recipes such as Moose Kebabs, Chameleon Dinner, Hop Toad Popcorn, and Moose Lips! Available through Amazon, it sells for less than $10. Do you have a favorite campground cookery book? Or, do you just have a repertoire of kid-friendly recipes? If so, do tell! Parents are always looking... [Read more...]

Palo Alto National Battlefield (RGV)…

February 23, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Palo Alto National Battlefield (RGV)…

Down in the southern most tip of Texas, in the RGV, is a small National Park that is really quite an interesting destination  -  The Palo Alto National Battlefield. Before traveling to Texas and looking for all the National Parks that they offer, we had no knowledge of the battle that took place here, or the extent (time and distance) that the US-Mexican War covered. This park is dedicated to the battle that happened on the grounds on May 8, 1846.  The first major battle of the US-Mexican War.  The visitor’s center is a small building with an informative film and displays that tell about both the battle that happened here, and the US-Mexican War in whole. The US Fort Texas (now the present day location of Brownsville, TX) was being held under siege by Mexican General Mariano Arista. Fort Texas’ General Zachary Taylor (later to be President due to his popularity earned by war actions) left the fort with the majority of his army, and went to Port Isabel (25 miles away... [Read more...]

A Change of Life–Part 2

February 23, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

A Change of Life–Part 2

This is a continuation from my previous post about the changes in our camping experiences as our children grow up. While our nearly 18 year old daughter, Meghan, traveled with us out east, to camp and tour Boston and Stowe three years ago, she elected to miss our trip to camp in Colorado and New Mexico in summer, 2009 and also our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in summer, 2010. Our son Ryan, now 19, loves the outdoors. He loves to hike and to camp, and, his only goal the past two summers was to get some time outdoors. He accompanied us both years. Meghan climbing to the top of the rock wall in Stowe, VT This year, however, things could be different. For the first time in our 22 years of marriage, Terry and I could be camping alone. We have had children as long as we have known each other. You see, we are a blended family. Our oldest daughter, Katie, was 3 when Terry and I married. While we did take a few trips alone over the years as vacations from the children, most of those involved... [Read more...]

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